A European virtual centre for the exchange of information and tools for engaging men in efforts to end men’s violence against women was created. A European network of national WRC associations and like-minded groups was mobilised in order to introduce the concept of the White Ribbon Campaign to the general public and to begin to engage men in an effort to end men’s violence against women.
Working with the EuroWRC partners: to produce materials (brochures, pins, etc.) and an educational CD-Rom. The CD-Rom contains a wealth of information about the issue of violence against women and the role of the White Ribbon Campaign in addressing the violence. The effort and activity of the EuroWRC partners inspired the formation of new White Ribbon groups in EU countries. For example, a new Austrian WRC was formed in November 2000, and individuals (or groups) interested in forming WRC initiatives were identified in Bulgaria, Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania.
As envisioned, media in various European countries reported on the message and activities of EuroWRC partners. Media coverage greatly increased the number of individuals who received the 'messages' broadcast by the EuroWRC partners and activities.
Violent men are men who believe in a patriarchal and stereotypic image of masculinity and who cannot live up to that image because of a certain lack of success in social terms: failure, work-related problems, decline in social status, etc. The violence and the domination strategies to which they resort are an attempt to regain, within the relatively unprotected private domestic environment, and at the expense of women, who are socially vulnerable, the power that they have lost or, perhaps, have never had, in other spheres. Most individual acts of violence by men may be regarded as ‘pathetic’ attempts to affirm their power over women, children or other men. The only way to test this hypothesis is to carry out studies on violent men. It would certainly be worthwhile studying the relationship between the development of masculinity and violence, or the representations and definitions of violent men or, again, the relationships between the sexes.
The White Ribbon Campaign can be seen as a way of focusing media attention on an initiative organised by men and women, the aim of which is to show, especially to other men, that increasing numbers of men are making a stand against violence to women and that it is important to do so out of respect for basic human rights and in the interest of women, men and society as a whole. These men are showing that they are part of a move to change mentalities and that they are taking a fresh look at traditional stereotypes. It is a question of breaking men’s silence, and at the same time calling into question the male model based on power relationships between the sexes and the traditional control of men over women.
The White Ribbon (or the pin) worn by men symbolises their solidarity with women and their willingness to denounce male violence, particularly against women. The range of violence includes physical, psychological and verbal violence, violence relating to economic power, sexual violence, violence in a private environment (domestic), in the workplace, in schools, in the street and even in wartime.
Awareness-raising and information initiatives were carried out in various cities of partner countries (articles in magasines, participation in national events, and in the 2000 Women’s World March) and the campaign was the subject of a presentation to the Belgium parliament.
In support of the campaign, information aids and awareness-raising tools were produced and distributed. These included pins, pamphlets, posters, a petition for the collection of signatures, and an education kit also posted in English, French and German on the website.
Educational activities were carried out in schools of La Louvière (Belgium) and the Madrid region. The Belgian partner used, among other tools, the education kit.
A network of organisations was initiated or strengthened in partner countries (establishment of the White Ribbon/France Association) as well as in Finland and Denmark.
A multilingual Internet site was developed, bringing together information and resources from European and Canadian websites (and other countries in the world) and a multimedia CD with approximately the same material as the website was produced and distributed.
This project had a large number of ‘spin-offs’ as the idea for a White Ribbon campaign spread and the media coverage attracted people’s interest: Through the website, new contacts were made with men’s and women’s organisations working on violence and related issues. The partners received requests of information and counselling from men and women who were reacting to newspaper articles. A men’s discussion group started in Brussels; Belgian and German White Ribbon groups started a dialogue and cooperation with women’s organisations. The Norwegian Red Cross supported the publication of a magasine issue devoted to the White Ribbon Campaign. The project was externally evaluated, and the evaluator provided some useful general comments on how project partnerships should be set up
He wrote: Communication and rapport between partners –any set of geographically dispersed entities who work together on Daphne-funded projects -- would be improved by ensuring that the following conditions prevail:
1. Prospective partners ought to have a firm grasp of each other’s respective resources, level of commitment, working style, and programmatic priorities before starting to work together. This degree of mutual understanding might be ensured by requiring (prospective) partners to submit copies of their respective partnership agreements along with any (future) proposal for funding to the Daphne Programme.
2. Prospective partners ought to have a firm understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities To ensure mutual understanding of this sort, formal partnership agreements (between each partner and the coordinating entity) ought to be drawn up.
3. Communication between partners should be facilitated by a full-time staff person (of the coordinating entity), preferably one who possesses demonstrated experience in managing and coordinating partnership agreements and/or associational networks.
4. Before working together or submitting a grant application, partners should agree to communicate in one or at most two languages in all ‘official’ correspondence. This is important because the cost of translation and the potential for miscommunication increases exponentially when correspondence or discussions are carried out in more than two languages.
5. The entity or individual who performs the coordination role for a network of associations should avoid the temptation to ‘micro-manage’ the specific programmatic activities of the partners, especially with regard to the scheduling of particular events.
· Campaign materials: pamphlets, posters, pins and ribbons
· Education kit
· Website and multimedia CD-Rom